PhD student wins Google scholarship

University of Tulsa computer science doctoral student Marie Vasek has received the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship. Vasek is one of 20 U.S. recipients from institutions such as Princeton, Stanford and Brown University to earn the accolade. The $10,000 Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship is one of the most prestigious honors awarded by Google to promising female technology students.

Marie VasekVasek received a bachelor of science degree in computer science and mathematics from Wellesley College and a master’s in computer science from Southern Methodist University. She is expected to complete her Ph.D. degree at TU in 2017, supervised by Tyler Moore, the Tandy Assistant Professor of Cyber Security. She originally planned to attend medical school but developed a passion for computer security after taking an introductory class. Vasek has attended a two-week security bootcamp, served as an intern at the nonprofit anti-malware organization StopBadware and researched web-based malware.

“My aim is to be a computer security professor,” she said. “I don’t want future women to have to follow a random sequence of events in order to discover computer science like I did. Studying computer science should be seen as viable a career path as pre-med is now for women.”

Vasek specializes in web security measurement and continues to work as the research scientist for StopBadware. She mentors interns through training, day-to-day activities and creating/supervising research projects.

“My research applies tools from economics to explain incident data and interpret the incentives and strategies of malicious actors,” Vasek said. “I hope to improve understanding of how cybercriminals operate so we might more effectively dismantle their networks.”

In recognition of her scholarship, Vasek attended a retreat at Google that featured workshops, speakers, panelists, breakout sessions and social activities.

About Anita Borg
Anita Borg believed technology affects all aspects of economic, political, social and personal lives. A technology rebel with a cause, in her life Borg fought tirelessly to ensure technology’s impact would be a positive one. It was this vision that inspired her to establish the Institute for Women and Technology in 1997. Today, the organization bears her name, the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology. Google honors her memory and encourages women to excel in computing and technology as active role models.